If you were one of the 500-plus latke-loving attendees at the 10th Annual Latke Festival held at the Brooklyn Museum on Dec. 3, you may consider yourself a winner.
There were of course formal as winners as well, selected by a panel of 13 judges on hand for the culinary competition and fundraiser for The Sylvia Center.
The judges declared the Hoppin’ John Latke, black-eyed peas, rice and potato latke, BBQ brisket, braise collards, crispy onions from Brooklyn’s Benchmark Restaurant their favorite, naming it Best Latke: This is Benchmark’s second consecutive year for that honor.
For the two new awards at the 2018 edition of the festival, the judges cited the Falafel Latke from Kulushkat, the Brooklyn-based Middle Eastern eatery as Best Creative Latke. Dima’s Sweet & Savory Short Rib Latke, slow braised short ribs, prune reduction and micro greens from Manhattan’s venerable Veselka got the nod for Best Traditional Latke. In a festival first, Veselka’s entry was a double winner, also named the People’s Choice Best Latke.
The judging panel of influencers and food experts included actress Debi Mazar and her celebrity chef husband Gabriele Corcos, hosts of Cooking Channel’s Extra Virgin; Dana Cowin, host of Heritage Radio’s Speaking Broadly (formerly long-time editor of Food & Wine); Alex Mayyasi, editor-in-chief of Gastro Obscura; David Berliner, president and COO of the Brooklyn Musuem; Tine Redwine, host of News12 CT’s “Chef’s Quick Tips;” Lee Schrager, director of the South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals, and Howard Axel, CEO of Four Freedoms Park. The full list of all 13 judges can be seen here.
“We’re so grateful to the participants who brought their culinary creativity to our event. It’s very gratifying all the winners have been long time supporters of the festival and The Sylvia Center. In fact Veselka has been part of the Latke Festival for all ten years of its existence,” noted Liz Neumark, the founder and CEO of Great Performances, which produces the event annually, and who also established The Sylvia Center. “It’s so intriguing how different the winning latkes were, demonstrating, once again, the myriad ways chefs can work with potato pancakes.”